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Full text of "Alexander von Humboldt"

ALEXANDEB  VON  HUMBOLBT.                133
can, therefore, not be surprised at the coldness of
Northern Asia, as the north-east winds prevail there.
Humboldt has also extended these studies on cli-
mate, to the special local influences; and has scienti-
fically explained the co-existing effect of the rays of
heat. This radiation of heat is variously modified by
the nature of the soil, its cultivation, its vegetable
world, even by the form of the plants, and situation,
and direction of their leaves ; it reflects the warmth
generated by the sun's rays, from the surface of the
earth back into the atmosphere., and exercises a great
influence on the climate.
In this way Huniboldt established a climatology.,
for which he had collected the elements as a favourite
occupation, from the commencement of his studies;
lie gained rich material from his own experience, and
did not reject the experience of others, which he was
able, in his own genial manner, justly to appty.
But the Asiatic journey became of vast importance
in its more extensive results. Where Humboldt
could not himself institute observations, he arranged
farther studies for others, with prudence and fore-
sight. In many parts of Siberia,, he left carefully
compared thermometers, in the hands of competent
and intelligent persons, and awakened the taste for
these measurements and comparative experiments,
especially among the Russian mining superintendents
of the TJral mountains. lit addition to this, he
fained the assistance of the imperial academy of St.
etersburg, by submitting to them an excellently
regulated plan for instituting over the entire extent
of the Russian empire a regular system of observa-
tions on the daily changes in the state of barometer,
thermometer, and hygrometer, on the temperature
of the soil, the direction of the wind, and the
moisture of the atmosphere. The interest which
all the members of the academy took in Humboldt's
plan, was increased by the emperor's interest; and
if it is taken into account that the Russian empire
presents a surface larger than the whole visible